How To Play Altered Jazz Guitar Lines Using a Major Triad

When you want to play altered jazz guitar lines over a dominant 7th chord, there is an easy and efficient option that is to play a major triad starting on the #11 of the chord you want to improvise over. This way you highlight the b7, #11 and b9 and add tension to your playing.
Let's take an example with a II-V-I sequence in the key of C major. The progression is Dm7 | G7alt | CMaj7.

Lick analysis - I-V7alt-I sequence

The first line starts with a D minor ninth arpeggio (D-F-A-C-E) from the Dorian mode. To build a minor ninth arpeggio,  you just have to take the first, the minor third, the fifth and the minor seventh of any minor scale (The Dorian mode as it is the case here). Keep in mind that the Dorian mode is a minor type scale, this is the second mode of the major scale. It is built with a root (1), a second (2), a minor third (b3), a perfect fourth (4), a perfect fifth (5), a sixth (6) and a minor seventh (b3). This is surely the first choice when you want to improvise over a minor chord.

D Dorian mode D E F G A B C
Formula 1 2 (9) b3 4 (11) 5 6 (13) b7
D minor ninth arpeggio D E F X A X C

 

The first four notes of the second measure make up a descending Db major triad (Db-F-Ab). This triad is from the G altered scale. It starts on the #11 (Db) of G7. The altered scale is the seventh mode of the melodic minor scale. It is also known as "super Locrian mode". It is generally used over dominant 7th chords (alt) when you want to add a sense of tension. Indeed, the altered scale contains all the altered notes that a scale can contain. Namely b9, #9, b13 and #11.

G altered scale G Ab Bb B Db Eb F
Formula 1 b9 #9 3 b5 (#11) #5 (b13) b7
Db major triad X Ab X X Db X F

Altered jazz guitar lick lesson | II-V7alt-I progression

 
  • 101 Dominant Arpeggio Patterns

    This printable PDF guitar lesson provides 101 dominant arpeggio exercises with tab, theory and standard notation for the jazz, blues and rock guitarist.
  • 40 Major Jazz Guitar Licks

    Printable PDF eBook containing 40 major jazz guitar licks with tab, standard notation and audio files for beginners and intermediates.
  • 49 Essential Jazz Lines

    This printable eBook in PDF format provides 49 jazz solo transcriptions of the greatest jazz musicians of all times with TABS, standard notation, audio files and analysis both for guitar teachers and students.
  • Mastering Pentatonic Scales

    This jazz guitar method is an eBook available as a PDF with standard notation, guitar tabs, diagrams, analysis, audio files and backing tracks. You will find in this booklet 25 easy jazz guitar lines with theory using common and rare pentatonic scales.
  • 20 II-V-I jazz guitar licks

    This method is a printable PDF eBook containing 20 II-V-I jazz guitar lines with tabs and audio files both in major and minor keys
  • 50 II-V-I voicings

    Jazz guitar comping. How to play II-V-I chord progressions on guitar with drop 2, drop 3 chords, rootless and inverted voicings. This method is a printable PDF eBook containing 50 exercises with audio files, analysis, tab & standard notation.
  • 11 blues jazz studies

    This PDF method contains 11 guitar lessons with chord studies, tabs, standard notation, analysis & audio files about the main blues progressions used in jazz music.
  • Mastering the altered scale

    This PDF eBook method contains 25 altered jazz guitar licks with tabs, patterns, scale charts and audio files to master, apply and develop the altered scale.
  • 40 Blues Dominant patterns

    This printable method is available as a PDF file containing 40 easy dominant jazz-blues guitar lines with tabs, standard notation, analysis, audio files and scale charts.
  • 25 Soul Jazz Guitar Licks

    You will find here an eBook available in PDF containing 25 soul jazz and hard bop guitar licks in the style of Grant Green, Melvin Sparks, George Benson. These jazz lines come with tabs, standard notation, guitar neck diagrams, backing track for practice and 25 audio files for each riff.
  • 25 Diminished Patterns

    This eBook PDF with audio files contains 25 dominant diminished jazz guitar patterns using the half-whole diminished scale and diminished 7th arpeggios.
  • 6 Tritone substitution licks

    The tritone substitution is explained through 6 jazz guitar licks with tabs/notation, youtube video links. Printable PDF eBook.

jazz lesson lesson II-V7alt-I triad scales How to play altered jazz guitar lines using a major triad altered jazz guitar lick Altered jazz guitar lines